Sunday, September 13

A wonderful gaming weekend

This weekend I found my joy in gaming again. I decided to give up completely on Champions Online, also cancelled my lingering Vanguard subscription, and even removed Age of Conan from my harddisk. It was time to play some great standalone games. Thanks to birthday boy Lani (Happy Birthday!!) I can now be with the force and play KOTOR.

But in stead of stepping into the world of Star Wars I decided to finally install Mass Effect. While it was installing and patching (I saw I could download some upgrades, so I did), I decided to visit Steam as well. And there I saw Braid was on weekend offer. I had heard that is was great game, but didn't really know too much about it. Still I couldn't let it pass so I bought it.

I was sort for thinking Mass Effect will pull me in completely, so let me start with Braid while cooking and fussing about in the house. That didn't work out so well. Braid is brilliant! The atmosphere, the puzzles, the story, the complete new concepts, it is all perfect! Since I got utterly absorbed by Portal earlier this year I haven't seen anything as good. It is that good!

In a near trance I had to finish "World 2". And I did. I could have gone on longer, but I really did want to what Mass Effect was all about. But Braid is great, no, brilliant. It makes the explorer in me jump for joy.

From the enormous positive comments Lani had made about Mass Effect I knew it had be a great game. But I was a bit worried it would be lost on me. But no, it wasn't. Basically from my first action (I got to tell the pilot to shut up!) I was pulled in. The immersion is amazing! Everything feels so real, and so immensely large. The sheer number of people you could talk to on the ship even before you go anywhere is impressive!

Also very impressive is that the facial changes you make at the start are really carried forward to every scene. I am just baffled at the enormopus amount of work it must have taken to make this game. I am probably even the most in awe with that.

Although far and apart it is a FPS game. Which means I have to move around with WASD and look with the mouse. Something I am no fan of at all. But I seem to manage quite well. They must have found the perfect balance somehow. Or the story is just that compelling I don't even notice my own reflexes.

By 2am on Friday night I had almost managed to rescue the beacon, but couldn't find the last bomb. So it was game over and high time for bed. But I was hooked!

So now I have two game going that are both so brilliant it pains me that I am not playing them right now. And I haven't even looked at KOTOR yet. Do I really have to go to back to work tomorrow?


  1. Woohooo happy birthday Lani ! Hope you had/are having a great day :)

    Braid looks fun!

    I tried Fallout as my last single player RPG, couldn't get into it, guess I've become addicted to the social aspect of MMOs now ...

    Good for you Phe :) KOTOR is great!

  2. Cool. KOTOR is good. It's one of those ones that kept sucking me back in, though I never did actually finish it.

    Oh, incase anyone cares and doesn't already know, DDO is free to play now.

  3. Mass Effect: I still remember the moment when after a wonderfull cinematic intro the quality of graphics isn't lowered a nodge or three for actual gameplay but that you are already in 'play mode' and it stays like that. I hope you'll discover there's plenty of room for your own personailty in a Bioware game. Although I must say that in ME the morality system began to chafe a bit. It's better suited to a more black and white morailty of Star Wars.

    Do try KOTOR when you can. Graphics will be more dated, but to be honest there's more content to it than there's to Mass Effect. And the story just kicks ass. First time through I did not see the "revelation" coming so caught up was I in the sub quests and the relationships with my party members. Brilliant.

    Braid: I found this giftwrapped in my Steam account to. Someone is retaliating it seems. Sadly, I could not really get into it. I'll give it another try later, but 2D platforms games never were my thing. I somehow managed to avoid the whole Mario / Zelda brainwashing during the nineties. And Braid's revolutionairy new feature, the time lapse is something that's a little bit too close to something I had on my Amiga 500 in the eighties (with 90% of the games even) to really impress me much.

    DDO: I do know, don't care much though. I could reopen my US account (I refuse to touch anything Codemaster so an EU account is out of the question) but while there was some fun in it for me, Phé was a bit too adept at pointing out its shortcomings when we tried it together :-)

  4. Mass Effect is amazing. I have no idea why I waited so long to try it out. I don't really have that urge to develop my own character in the game. I know I am the one making the decisions, but here I am playing out a story. While in an MMO I am living the character. I am pretty sure I will play through Mass Effect a few times to experience the consequences of the choices, but it will be play, not live. I guess the fact I don't talk to other real players makes that difference. It is not worse of better, it is just different.

    And I will definitely play KOTOR! I am looking forward to it, but Mass Effect (and vacation, and business trips) first. The fact graphics are a bit dated only bothers for 2 minutes if the story is great.

    Too bad you didn't enjoy Braid as much as me. I have finished it completely now. I love platform games, even though I have never really played on a SNES. But no worries, you don't have to like it at all. There are plenty of more giftwrapped items where that came from :)

    Yep, DDO is not my game. I tried enjoying it at two occasions, but it is lost on me. And apparently my dislike rubbed off. Even for free I won't be interested.

  5. That's a good comparison. Playing a story vs living a character.
    It does make me ponder how they'll work out the difference in SWTOR. But maybe DragonAge will tell. It's closer to the old Baldur's gate style, which had a lot more freedom for your character's development but apparently still has a huge story element to it as well.

    The only platform game I ever truly liked was Bubble Bobble, which I played through completely with a friend.

    P.s. KOTOR: The one thing I didn't like was the final battle. That was one long encounter fight after another. Imagine an MMO grind for a rare drop only not in a zone but some long winding tunnel of a space station, then a Boss Battle where you're allowed to set every Mine you collected in the game and never used, before engaging the Boss and fleeing across your minefield...

    I went through it twice but that's it. Must've done a total of 9 replays up to that point though. KOTOR II had a similar problem but that was partially because Obsidian shipped it for Christmas while their development schedule had them ready 3 months after Christmas.